Harp Backs Ganim’s Clean-money Lawsuit

Ganim New Haven
Ganim and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa in background chatting with Norma Rodriguez-Reyes, head of the CT Latino Democrats group and publisher of La Voz during a recent visit to New Haven in support of Mayor Harp. Image courtesy New Haven Independent.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp supports Mayor Joe Ganim’s effort to participate in the public-financing system for his 2018 run for governor. The State Elections Enforcement Commission ruled against Ganim’s inclusion for Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded campaigns based on his 2003 public corruption conviction. Ganim, who is challenging it in federal court, has kicked up his presence in New Haven arguably the highest-performing Democratic community in the state.

Harp New Haven
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp is seeking another two-year term. Image courtesy New Haven Independent.

The New Haven Independent’s Paul Bass has more on this.

Because Ganim spent seven years in prison for taking bribes and kickbacks (in his previous term as mayor; he won the seat again after leaving prison), he does not qualify for the system under the current rules. So he decided to file a federal lawsuit in an effort to strike down that part of the system, the Citizens Election Program, as unconstitutional.

“I would argue that if he’s a politician and he meets all the qualifications, why would you use that to hold against his actually participating in something that would be a clean way–and difficult, by the way–of raising money for a statewide campaign? I think we do it all the time,” giving people a second chance to participate in society after completing criminal sentences.

Harp equated Ganim’s bid to use public financing to ex-cons’ bids to regain voting rights.

She was asked about the special argument made in this case, that a politician who has abused the public trust shouldn’t get the special privilege of receiving taxpayer money to regain elected office. “That’s a decision that the legislature should make, and not a body that is not elected. And it should be debated,” Harp argued.



  1. What the hell is Toni Harp saying?
    I thought the legislature debate it and changed the law!
    Let’s take a look and see how Toni Harp voted on that bill.

  2. Or if the legislature didn’t act, they have had more that sufficient time sine this was administratively defined and it should have been resolved by the GA it they didn’t like it.

    1. Troll, the legislature did act. The SEEC declaratory ruling against Ganim http://www.ct.gov/seec/lib/seec/DeclaratoryRuling201701.pdf is based on the 2013 Citizens Election Program legislative amendment. Ganim is challenging the constitutionality of these two provisions of Connecticut General Statutes:

      (5) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, no candidate may apply to the State Elections Enforcement Commission for a grant from the fund under the Citizens’ Election Program if such candidate has been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, in a court of competent jurisdiction, any (A) criminal offense under this title unless at least eight years have elapsed from the date of the conviction or plea or the completion of any sentence, whichever date is later, without a subsequent conviction of or plea to another such offense, or (B) a felony related to the individual’s public office, other than an offense under this title in accordance with subparagraph (A) of this subdivision.

      And section 9-706(b)(12), which requires a candidate applying for CEP funds to execute a written certification stating in part:

      The candidate has never been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, in a court of competent jurisdiction, a felony related to the individual’s public office, other than a criminal offense under this title in accordance with subdivision (11) of this subsection

          1. Toni Nathaniel Harp is an American politician who currently serves as the 50th Mayor of New Haven, Connecticut. Harp, a Democrat, was a state senator in Connecticut from 1993 to 2013.
            So she served in the legislature in 2013.
            How did she vote on this piece of legislation?
            Yea or Nay?

  3. “I would argue that if he’s a politician and he meets all the qualifications, why would you use that to hold against his actually participating in something that would be a clean way.”
    So let’s give him a million dollars so he can tell us how he won’t do it again.

  4. I like Mayor Harp, but she’s a Damn fool on this one. She an advocate of second chances when it cone to Joe, but not when it comes to the New Haven fire department where anyone with a felony arrest is disqualified irrespective of what that felony entails.

    She goes on to say, “That’s a decision that the legislature should make. Are you kidding me Mayor Harp, you were there when the legislature told us deregulation of electric would serve all of Connecticut with lower electric rates, but we pay the most of any state in the country. Were you there when the legislature said the income tax would serve all of Connecticut with money to go to educate the youth of Connecticut and had an expiration date which it never did and it caused businesses to leave in troves.

    To hell with the legislature making decisions on what’s best for Connecticut because you haven’t done well in the past and if you aren’t going to legislate for second chances in your city its disingenuous to do so for Mayor Joe Ganim in the state of Connecticut.

  5. It is obvious that Joe Ganim is more at home in Hartford and now, New Haven, than in Bridgeport. As a personal proponent of “second chances” practically and philosophically, I have watched Ganim2 fail to live up to words he used while campaigning:
    Accountable: for a devaluation of the Grand List of $1 Billion that required a 29% mil rate increase. He presided over the decrease in personal wealth in home values, putting some folks under water, and increased taxes major on others. Yet he said STOP RAISING TAXES…..and his operating budget had mistakes in revenue projections that helped create a current surplus which he has not even mentioned in his photops?
    TRANSPARENT – why is he bonding a partial swipe at the real Police Overtime mover to MERS past service liability that will carry an added price tag of $100,000,000 over the term of years? Is that what New Haven would do?
    OPEN=the City checkbook to connect the felony ending Mayoral years with the “second chance” Ganim2 years for personal gain without taking it to the public after completing something that all can see is real and helpful? Personal financial greed still there? Hubris and bad choices Ganim1? Hubris and ????choices Ganim2? Older and wiser?? Or just older, more tired, and following lessons he learned courtesy of the Feds? Time will tell.

  6. Mayor Joe is more at home with the city of Hartford than he is with Bridgeport.
    Minor league baseball park? CHECK
    Outside concert venue? CHECK
    Downtown theaters? CHECK
    On the verge of bankruptcy? CHECK
    Why don’t you move to Hartford? They have tried everything you’re trying and are still teetering on bankruptcy!

  7. No surprise here……………..
    Toni Harp is from a political family that thinks it’s above the law, or laws don’t apply to them. Husband was a real estate developer/slumlord with numerous violations.
    When elected mayor, Toni was shown to be living in a house on Conrad Drive in New Haven that never received a CO. Her excuse: It belongs to my son.
    The Harp family used Toni’s position as State Senator and Mayor to make money, the public be damned.

    BTW>>>I’m a native New Havener. You think Bridgeport is bad in being run by the DTC? The last Republican Mayor in New Haven left office in 1953. Most years the Republicans don’t bother running a candidate

  8. I would hope someone will remind Harp that she was a member of the state senate when the bill was passed. Maybe then she will recall that she voted in favor of it.
    Oh my. How will she explain that to Joe and Mario?

  9. The SEEC ruling was for Ernie Newton to stop him from getting funding if he thought about running again and that didn’t think about the golden mayor would run for elective office again.

  10. Joseph Ganim was convicted of 16 counts of racketeering and sent to prison. He was disbarred as a result. a panel of three superior court judges upheld the revocation of his license to practice law because he has shown no remorse for his crimes nor has he admitted to doing anything wrong.

    Now he wants campaign welfare from the state of Connecticut? Mr. Ganim is either shameless or stupid. 

  11. If Joe Ganim came out right after he was elected and had a open dialog about what he did and that it was wrong and that he’s truly sorry what he did to his children, his family and to the residents of this great City, Bridgeport and that he’s asking for forgiveness, well, Joe could have move on with stronger support. All Joe has done is to dance around the issue.


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